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Our “Friend” In Afghanistan

by @ 5:46 pm on April 5, 2010. Filed under Afghanistan, Foreign Affairs

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In case you missed it Afghan President Hamid Karzai went on a rant against the United States over the weekend:

KABUL, Afghanistan—President Hamid Karzai lashed out at his Western backers for the second time in three days, accusing the U.S. of interfering in Afghan affairs and saying the Taliban insurgency would become a legitimate resistance movement if the meddling doesn’t stop.

Mr. Karzai, whose government is propped up by billions of dollars in Western aid and nearly 100,000 American troops fighting a deadly war against the Taliban, made the comments during a private meeting with about 60 or 70 Afghan lawmakers Saturday.

At one point, Mr. Karzai suggested that he himself would be compelled to join the other side —that is, the Taliban—if the parliament didn’t back his controversial attempt to take control of the country’s electoral watchdog from the United Nations, according to three people who attended the meeting, including an ally of the president.

Mr. Karzai blamed the lawmakers’ resistance to his move on a foreign conspiracy, they said. The Afghan president’s latest remarks came less than 24 hours after he assured U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that he was committed to working with the U.S. That phone call was precipitated by a similar—but less vitriolic–anti-Western diatribe Mr. Karzai delivered earlier last week.

President Karzai’s recent remarks have sparked attention in the U.S.

After Friday’s call, U.S. and Afghan officials said they were putting the incident behind them and moving on.

Publicly, at least, they have: Mr. Karzai traveled Sunday to the southern city of Kandahar with the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, Army Gen. Stanley McChrystal.

Coalition and Afghan forces are planning a major offensive in coming months to secure Kandahar, the Taliban’s birthplace and spiritual heartland.

Mr. Karzai sought to reassure anxious residents there during a meeting with tribal elders. “There won’t be an operation unless you are happy about it,” Mr. Karzai told the crowd, assuring them they would be “consulted first.”

As in February’s offensive in the southern town of Marjah, Mr. Karzai will have a say over when major operations in Kandahar begin. The idea, say U.S. officials, is to give him the chance to take up the challenge of leading the fight against the Taliban.

Mr. Karzai’s Saturday round of accusations against the U.S. and its allies was the strongest indication to date that the strategy is having little effect on the president.

Gee do you think ?

This guy has demonstrated quite aptly ever since the election that wasn’t an election that he is not a reliable ally and that an Afghanistan with him at the top is not something worth defending.

This morning, Joe Scarborough referred to Karzai as an Afghan Diem. If that’s true, then we need to get out now rather than making the mistake the JFK did.

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